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About: Section Title

Principal Investigator

About: Team Members
Junhong Chen (1).JPG

Junhong Chen

Principal Investigator

Crown Family Professor of Molecular Engineering

Lead Water Strategist at Argonne National Laboratory

Science Leader for Argonne in Chicago

Research and Scholarly Interests: Hybrid Nanomaterials, 2D Nanomaterials, Chemical and Biological Sensors, Energy Devices

Contact    /    773 702 8721

Assistant    Jennifer Nolan

Junhong Chen is currently a Crown Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and lead water strategist at Argonne National Laboratory.

Prior to coming to Chicago in September 2019, Prof. Chen served as a program director for the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) program of the US National Science Foundation (NSF).  He also served as a co-chair of the NSF-wide ERC Working Group to design the ERC Planning Grants program and the Gen-4 ERC program.  In addition, Chen was a representative from the Engineering Directorate serving on the NSF-wide Working Groups for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and NSF Research Traineeship (NRT).

Prior to joining NSF in May 2017, he was a regent scholar of the University of Wisconsin System, a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and an Excellence in Engineering Faculty Fellow in Nanotechnology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). He served as the director of NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) on Water Equipment & Policy (WEP) for six years.  He founded NanoAffix Science LLC to commercialize real-time water sensors based on 2D nanomaterials.

Chen received his PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Minnesota in 2002 and was a postdoctoral scholar in chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology from 2002 to 2003.  Chen is an elected fellow of National Academy of Inventors and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).  His start-up company, NanoAffix, is a recipient of the 2016 Wisconsin Innovation Award.

Current Research

Junhong Chen Research Group’s goal is to impact our society through scientific discoveries and sustainable technological innovations.  His research interest lies in molecular engineering of nanomaterials and nanodevices, particularly hybrid nanomaterials featuring rich interfaces and nanodevices for sustainable energy and environment.  His approach is to combine multidisciplinary experiments with first-principles calculations to design and discover novel nanomaterials for engineering various sensing and energy devices with superior performance. 

Chen has made seminal contributions to general areas of hybrid nanomaterials and molecular engineering of various sensors and energy devices. He has published 260 journal papers and has been listed as a highly cited researcher (top 1%) in materials science/cross-field by Clarivate Analytics since 2017.  His research has led to nine issued US patents, five pending patents, and 13 licensing agreements.  He is a pioneer in technology translation and commercialization through exemplary industrial partnership and the university start-up company. 

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